Victims of Abuse: Recovery and Healing
, domestic violence
, narcissistic personality disorder
, object relations
, personality disorders
, spousal abuse
Victims of abuse in all its forms -- verbal, emotional, financial, physical, and sexual -- are often disorientated. They require not only therapy to heal their emotional wounds, but also practical guidance and topical education. At first, the victim is, naturally, distrustful and even hostile. The therapist or case worker must establish confidence and rapport painstakingly and patiently.
Run time 4 minutes 16 secondsProducer Sam VakninAudio/Visual sound
The therapeutic alliance requires constant reassurance that the environment and treatment modalities chosen are safe and supportive. This is not easy to do, partly because of objective factors such as the fact that the records and notes of the therapist are not confidential. The offender can force their disclosure in a court of law simply by filing a civil lawsuit against the survivor!
The first task is to legitimise and validate the victim's fears. This is done by making clear to her that she is not responsible for her abuse or guilty for what happened. Victimisation is the abuser's fault -- it is not the victim's choice. Victims do not seek abuse -- although, admittedly some of them keep finding abusive partners and forming relationships of co-dependence. Facing, reconstructing, and reframing the traumatic experiences is a crucial and indispensable first phase.
The therapist should present the victim with her own ambivalence and the ambiguity of her messages -- but this ought to be done gently, non-judgementally, and without condemnation. The more willing and able the abuse survivor is to confront the reality of her mistreatment (and the offender), the stronger she would feel and the less guilty.
(From the book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" by Sam Vaknin - Click on this link to purchase the print book, or 16 e-books, or 2 DVDs with 12 hours of video lectures on narcissists, psychopaths, and abuse in relationships: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html)